CPAC - The fall of Social Conservatism

This is the week of CPAC - the big conservative conference that often marks the start of the presidential primary season for Republicans. Most of the front-running candidates show up to show off their wares.

Usually, this conference is controlled by the social conservatives and there’s lots of rah rah patriotism, God, and anti-gay rhetoric.

This year was different. First, there was the big news that GOProud, a gay conservative organization, had been invited to attend. This caused the social conservatives to go into conniptions, and threaten to boycott. They thought they had enough clout to shut down GOProud and keep them out. They didn’t. Instead, they marginalized themselves.

Then Sarah Palin came out in support of GOProud, fracturing the ‘base’ even more.

Andrew Brietbart, one of the big movers in conservative politics, then announced that he was going to throw a ‘big gay party’ for GOProud during the convention. And he did, and it was apparently THE party to be at.

Yesterday, one of the front-runners for the nomination, Mitch Daniels (and my personal favorite) gave his speech in which he called for a moratorium on social issues, a toning down of the heated rhetoric, and a focus on fiscal issues that could build a big tent coalition strong enough to push through serious reform to entitlements and spending.

Mitch Daniels calls for broad, civil, conservative coalition

This speech was apparently one of the most well-received speeches at CPAC this year.

I’ve been saying this for a while, but this is yet more evidence that the conservative wing in America is becoming younger, more libertarian and less socially conservative. There’s definitely a ‘rift’ on the right, but it looks to me like the good guys are winning.

Did any of you follow events at CPAC? Do you think this marks a fundamental change in Republican politics? Are we seeing the slow death of the old Jerry-Falwell style southern religious conservatism as its leaders and rank and file grow older and start dying off?

If this trend continues, and they also stop being anti-science, I might someday actually consider voting for them.

No, it’s not a fundamental change. CPAC has always been libertarian - Ron Paul won the straw poll today, just as he did last year. Mike Huckabee, currently the leading candidate on the Republican side, got about 6% of the vote to Paul’s 30%. Watch the early returns in the 2012 caucuses and you’ll see how influential CPAC is.

Of course the thought of putting aside the social issues got a good reaction - all the people who would disagree weren’t there. CPAC’s been losing relevance for years - last year’s keynote speaker was a drugged up Rush Limbaugh - and after this year it is all but meaningless when trying to glean any information about the Republican Party in general.

It speaks volumes that the first things the new House majority did were to push forward three or more abortion bills while all but ignoring anything on job creation or reigning in spending.

On the one hand, this is a good thing. On the other hand, there’s nothing more obnoxious than a snotty young objectivist.

I did not follow CPAC but from your link:

Speaking to a cherry picked small crowd, it is easy to be “well received.”

Meanwhile Santorum was strong in his promotion of the social issues agenda. That article also disputes your portrayal of CPAC as usually being dominated by social conservatives.

Last year, according to Wiki, GOProud was a cosponsor as well. The difference was that last year the social conservative groups only threatened to boycott but ended up coming anyway. This year they actually stayed away.

I’d guess it would be a bit premature to conclude that social religious conservatism is dying off.

Yep, GOProud went over so well that the new director of the American Conservative Union (which puts on CPAC) is already talking about severing ties between them. And the religious crowd has their own Values Voters Summit, while CPAC has always been less about the family values crap. So, really, the “good guys” are winning over the more socially moderate Republican faction, maybe.

And it’s not even like GOProud likes gay people. Or supports marriage equality.

But, I guess it’s progress for the Republicans. Baby steps and all.

And I thought this was going to be about the Canadian Parliamentary Affairs Channel and the passage of Bill C-389. :slight_smile:

I don’t see any change in the rank and file. Some of the establishment Repoublicans are concerned about how crazy the base is getting and are making efforts to draw them back (a couple of talk show hosts denouncing the birther crap isn’t really indicative of much, especially when their major issue with birthers is one of political strategy, not ethics or honesty).

Mitch Daniels did nothing in the straw poll today, and any calls on his part to be quiet on socoal issues are meaningless and don’t actually concede anything. He’s basically just saying “let’s not talk about so we don’t scare away all sane people,” but, as we well know, the Republican party and the conservative base are currently more crazed than they’ve ever been.

They red meat base is still the same unlettered mob of racist, xenophoboc, homophobic, creationist idiots they’ve always been. They aren’t about fiscal ssues because if they were, they wouldn’t oppose health care reform and think that Obama raised taxes.

Some Republicans are aware that their party is in danger of being hijacked out of any hope of contention in 2012, and are trying to draw back a little bit, but it won’t be of any use. It’s going to be a hairy primary. Have you seen the parade of buffoons that spoke at CPAC this year? Holy shit.

I believe almost half of them think Obama is a Muslim, by the way. When that number gets near zero, maybe I’ll think a move towards moderation is credible.

Another counter-example to this supposed trend of moderation on social issues is when last month Tim Pawlenty, not generally perceived as an extreme social conservative, felt the need to go on the radio with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer to claim that as President he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Looks like the path to the Republican nomination still requires pandering to anti-gay hate groups.

GOProud seems to be composed entirely of self-hating gays who enthusiastically support every draconian, repressive measure the Fundies can come up with, I can scarcely imagine any stripe of conservative objecting to their presence at CPAC!

GOProud even paid Coulter good money to come and diss them to their faces!

Jeez, what do the GOProuds have to do to get a little respect? March off to concentration camps on their own after bankrupting themselves to pay for the crematoria?
Crap, maybe I shouldn’t post that, it will give GOProud ideas . . . .:frowning:

Don’t count out the Tea Party just yet. At the grass roots, they’re really more social-conservative than libertarian.

I’m so happy to see this happen. I’ve been wanting the Republican party to basically tell the Religious Right/social conservatives to go fuck themselves (in a nice way of course) for a long time. Where else are these buffoons going to go anyway?

I agree with you Sam on Mitch Daniels.

I hate Sarah Palin. I mean I really, really hate Sarah Palin. But this doesn’t surprise me. She’s previously said that she has no particular animus against gay people and couldn’t have, living in Alaska. She wasn’t lying, for once. My sister lived in Alaska for 15 years, and people really don’t care about that (they don’t care about a lot of other things either, which isn’t nearly as healthy).

You have a link for this? Something more than a wink wink nudge nudge but an outright statement of support? Not being snarky but I haven’t seen this.

Paging **Sampiro **to join in for a Southern liberal gay take on GOProud please

I used to lean heavily libertarian until I realized that fiscal conservatism is just social conservatism with different methods.

It’s a pity we can’t heart posts here.

fiscal conservatism does not equal fiscally conservative. Took me a while to catch on as I’m the latter and not the former.

Funny, for a second I read that as “paid Coulter to come in their faces.” :eek:

I hope you guys keep hammering on that economic conservatism stuff. Better just purge all the socialcons from the party while you’re at it. Maybe my mother might vote for a Democrat before she dies.